Aurelia’s New Blade
John – At the end of the previous session the party Eleanora had identified the magic items that the party had picked up in their travels. She identified the longsword as a +1 longsword named Talon and the glass staff as a Staff of Defence. Merric kept the longsword and Aurelia took the staff.
Satisfied with their purchases, except for Asterin who really wanted that herb book, the group made their way back to the inn for a hearty meal in the common room. Taking their time with their meal and enjoying a drink or two, they discussed their next move. After a few prompts by Wendel, the group decided to revisit and clear out the Cragmaw Hideout with the hopes of relocating the lost goods for the Lionshield Coster.
*I was fairly surprised by this course of action, no DM likes to railroad, but I had been hinting towards the druid Reidoth with the players making their way to Thundertree … I had even printed it out in full colour in preparation. The group is woefully OP for Cragmaw Hideout, it will require a massive rewrite. *
During this discussion, several caravan members entered the inn to get lodging and food. Latesh seemed to be well known by the innkeeper and the two started up a discussion. The tricorn hat wearing woman reappeared and approached the group. She introduced herself as Mia Rawspire a travelling messenger who was familiar with these parts. Mia seemed particularly interested in Wendel and enquired whether they had met before. Wendel denied having met her before, Mia apologised for the mistake and bought the next round for the group, then bid the group fair well.
*Mia is here to add a little bit of foreshadowing for Wendel’s story. It remains to be seen how it will all play out. I have ideas are a plenty, but it depends on how the party handles the next few sessions. *
The party retired to their beds, but Aurelia’s sleep was intruded by a dream sequence. *I just love Warlocks and the opportunities it provides the DM. *
A purring fills your ears, intruding into your dreams and you open your eyes. You’re not sure of the time of night, it is very late. A pressure rests on your chest, the source is a familiar jet-black cat.
“Bring your staff of glass and follow.”
You follow the cat through the inn’s dark halls, down a set of stairs, as she guides you through the inn’s dormant kitchen and out the back door. The crescent moon is high overhead, smiling down on you as you follow your patron across the yard over to the chicken coop.
“Wait here,” the cat instructs before she darts in between the loose boards of the coop. A brief sound of some chicken clucking accompanied by a scuffle and the cat reappears, a hen between her jaws. She drops the hen at your feet where it lay motionless.
“Pick that up.” It wasn’t a request.
With the chicken now in your arms, you realise it is still alive and appears to be either shocked or mesmerised into stillness.
The cat picks up the pace and you follow it south to the very edge of town. Walking through a ruined stone archway you realised you have been led to an old graveyard. Although there is some evidence of recent activity, possibly the burying of several dead Redbrands, it is obvious that the graveyard has been here far longer than the town’s current occupants.
You are led through the graveyard over to the side of a small hill which contained a large stone door in the side.
“Would you kindly open the door,” the cat requests. As if on command that door rumbles open, swinging in on its own. She leads you into the crypt beneath the hill. Green lit candles come to life as you walk down a stone corridor. After a short walk you arrive in a small room which holds a large stone sarcophagus laying on the floor in the centre of the room. The sarcophagus dwarfs the room. With nary a pause, the cat jumps up onto the lid of the sarcophagus.
“Lay the staff down on the lid and hand me that chicken,” she instructs.
You place the chicken down in front of her and position the staff as instructed. The hen starts to make panicky clucking. It is afraid.
“A little bit of fear is good for the blood!” The cat suddenly pins the hen between her jaws and drags it over the staff. Holding the hen above the staff she makes a bestial growl and removes the chicken’s head in one bite. Bright blood falls upon the staff as the green lit candles flare in response.
Surprisingly, the hen’s blood continues to flow, more than a mere chicken could hold. The blood flow down and completely covers the sarcophagus until it runs over the sides. The staff becomes hidden beneath the torrent of red liquid.
Throwing the discarded hen to the side, “Time to rise again,” commands the cat and a bright moonlight shines beneath the bright red blood pool. The flowing blood stops in motion and reverses in direction, flowing back into the bright light. As it feeds the light, it grows brighter and brighter until it is too bright to look upon. You divert your gaze. As the light reaches a crescendo a bright flash fills the room and the candles are suddenly extinguished plunging the room into darkness.
“Behold your prize child and think of me as you wield her,” your patrons voice echoes in the chamber. Turning back a single light stands in the darkness. Bright as the moon itself, rests a clear blade where the staff once sat. Looking closer the blade is revealed to be a rapier made of pure glass, with a hilt and cross guard of twisted silver wire. The cross guard is shaped into an inverted crescent moon and the hilt formed the shape of a cat’s paw gripping a large cat’s eye gem that acts as the pommel. You reach down and pick it up.
As your hand touches the hilt, the candles burst back alight once more, the green light leaps across the room seeking you out as it swallows you, burning you down to the root of your soul. You awaken with a start back at the inn in your bed, the rapier is still firmly in your hand. All you can hear is the purring of a self-satisfied cat.
Aurelia finally had received her pact weapon – the Crescent Claw.
The next morning the group picked up their old cart and horses, and set out towards the Cragmaw Hideout. During their travel Asterin realised that she forgot to buy her herbalist book but discovered Wendel knew herbalism and began peppering him with questions about the subject so she could learn more. Wendel was surprised by the role reversal, as he rarely knew more than Asterin on a subject and was only happy to oblige, describing the various plants they passed on their travels.
They were ambushed around midday by a group of Cragmaw goblins. Merric & Wendel decided to try a more ranged approach this time, but Asterin was having none of it and charged forward equipped with her new armour and shield. Clearly not wanting to miss out the halflings changed their mind and showed how quickly they could move; Aurelia meanwhile flourished her new weapon. The goblins did not stand a chance.
*I had included a goblin boss in this encounter to test the mettle of the party. They didn’t disappoint. This encounter also gave an opportunity for both Asterin and Aurelia to test out their new equipment. *
The rest of the day proved uneventful, and the party setup camp adjacent to the road. It was during Asterin & Aurelia’s watch that the orcs attacked. Fortunately, both girls could see easily in the dark and were not caught unaware and were able to wake the pair of snoring halflings before being set upon. The group was surrounded, and the fight was fierce with all members in close combat.
Cracks of lighting flashed around Asterin as she smashed down an orc only to place her hand on a staggering Merric who had just caught a critical hit with a great axe. *Great axe critical hit.. Ouch* Aurelia’s gleaming rapier flashed in the moonlight as it slayed the orc in front of her. Wendel’s hands and feet became a blur as he dealt harsh punishment to orcs. Having recovered, Merric lashed out and dealt the final blow. Fortunately, the night was considered a long rest so all were healed by morning. Unfortunately, the party forgot to loot the dead mobs before heading off.
*I require the group to remember to loot mobs. The main reason for this is that there are instances where looting isn’t practical for the group. At this time, the group were too taken by the experience that they simply forgot. It was pointed out to them though in the hopes they didn’t forget next time. *
The group finally made it to the trail the led to the Cragmaw Hideout. Heading up the trail once more the party had completely forgotten about the past traps, and although avoiding one, Wendel still fell into a deadfall. Recalling that there were only two traps Wendel bolding strode forth, setting off a new swinging log trap and was thrown 10ft.
*After all they have raided the cave before. Can’t expect that the goblins wouldn’t have learnt from the experience. *
Ready to re-enter Cragmaw Hideout I called the session to a close. This would give me a chance to rewrite all the encounters to make it more suitable to the party’s level.